OMSI’s Mini Maker Faire returns to East Portland

Crafters, builders, experimenters, growers – discover why more than 100 of them came to this year’s Faire …

Thousands of visitors come to OMSI’s Mini Maker Faire see the inventiveness of Makers, and learn from them.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The second-annual Portland Mini Maker Faire, a family-friendly showcase of creativity and cool technology, returned to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) parking lot the for two days, starting September 14.

“This is a showcase of creativity, ingenuity, intervention – it’s amazing,” is how OMSI Event Director Andrea Middleton described the event for East Portland News.

While holding young guest Max Perry, OMSI Event Director Andrea Middleton says this Faire is a small version of “The greatest show-and-tell on earth”.

“We have more than 100 ‘makers’ here.  These are people who have made something, and are here to show it off to the public.”

To the question, “What’s a ‘Maker’?” Middleton responded, “The publishers of MAKE Magazine are credited with the name, and popularizing the idea.

Todd Baker, Vincent Sanchez, and Chris Stephens of R2D2 Builders Group present a workshop called “Building your own droid”.

Michael Culp learns to solder from his dad, Jason Culp.

“It’s all about the growing do-it-yourself movement; that is, a ‘making-instead-of-consuming’ way of thinking. It’s about making it with your own hands.”

It’s not necessarily more scientific than agricultural, Middleton commented. “The ‘Maker movement’ covers a huge variety. At this event we have beekeepers. But, we also have robots, model rockets, Tesla coils, and a guy who covered his car in yarn.
“The variety of Makers is the thing is most fascinating and amazing to me.”

Courtney Leach and Rachael Gruen of Sellwood Soap show off a really large bar of dog shampoo they make, before it’s cut into bars.

John Brooks, Computer Programmer at ESCO, a metal foundry, pours molten pewter into a form to make a custom coin for a guest.

This event is a sanctioned, but smaller, version of the flagship Maker Faire® shows regularly held near San Francisco and in New York that host more than 800 Makers and have 100,000 visitors come through their gates.

Providing a venue for this event is an exact fit with OMSI’s mission, Middleton remarked. “One of our strategic initiatives here is innovation and engineering. This is a great way for us to really achieve that part of our mission.”

“It came to me in a dream,” says Yarn Car maker Tim Klein, who turned a 1967 Imperial Crown into a drivable work of art by using more than four miles of soft acrylic yarn and 2,000 black river rocks.

Black powder enthusiasts with PDX Yar fire off their flintlock pistols. Flame belches from the breech as the gun fires.

During the Faire, some 6,000 visitors came to view the exhibits, listen to the talks, and see demonstrations and performances that bridged arts, crafts, science, and engineering.

“Don’t forget,” Middleton added, “all the hands-on activities we have that are designed to inspire and stimulate the Maker within!”

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry considers its mission to foster such invention. OMSI is situated on the east bank of the Willamette River, on Water Street, just north of the Ross Island Bridge.

> On our Front Page: “It’s the perfect thing to do with single socks!” says Zaftiq Chandler with Sock Dreams of Sellwood, as she introduces her sock puppet, “Ralph”.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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